Today I attended the Remembrance Sunday service for Edinburgh’s four universities. The service took place in the Playfair Library Hall of the Old College followed by the laying of wreaths in the Quadrangle.
For several years now I have reflected on how many of the soldiers in the First World War were the same age as most of my students, and some even younger. Around 250,000 boys under the age of 19 joined the British Army and went to the front in the First World War. I have probably taught fewer than one per cent of that number in the 13 years I have been teaching.
Today’s service required academic dress which, along with the location, made the connection between these very different young lives feel even more poignant. The words of the Kohima epitaph capture the sense of sacrifice and loss better than I ever could.
When You Go Home,
Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Their Tomorrow,
We gave Our Today